Singapore

First thing you would notice about Singapore is the beautiful airport. There are dozens of backdrops that would make for a stunning selfie. There is Social Tree in T1, a Sunflower Garden in T2, a butterfly garden and many more. Whether you have a long layover or just transiting through Changi. This place is one of the best to relax and hangout.

I had chosen Ibis, Novena for our 3 nights stay in Singapore. Though had opted for a family room , it wasn’t impressive, hardly any space to move around but my 7 yr old boy was very excited, jumping on the bed. That’s the ultimate test for hotel beds I guess.  Ibis and Novotel are your classic budget hotels, standard room sizes are 12×12 with all the amenities of a  4 star. The best thing about them is that , you know what’s in store and there aren’t any surprises when you actually arrive at the hotel. Anywhere in the world, same standards.

As soon as we checked in, the first ting on the mind was breakfast. ..’Till what time is the counter open ‘  ‘Can you speak up? It’s so noisy in here.’ ‘Oh never mind, We’ll go in.’ Clinking? Tinkling? ..someone corrected

‘Onomatopoeia’ for the sound of spoons hitting on the plate when eating? A polite elderly lady who was standing in Q behind me.

But this was a loud and messy crowd. Travel group probably, and ofcourse from my motherland . Filling their plates like mini mountain…leave for me that last piece of bread.please. Would that be impolite if I hold the hand of the lady who is busy filling her plate with fruits as if there is no tomm. This is hoarding of food. Someone help us! All tables are dirty, food thrown all over the place. Mom’s screaming at unruly children. I felt like hiding my face out of shame or guilt . Is this the image we leave in front of the world ?

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Forget them, lemme start my day. Singapore is well connected with public transport system. If you choose a place which is close to the metro route, its a breeze to move around. Our first stop was Marina Bay and Merlion Park . The Singapore’s tourism icon is a mythical creature with the head of a lion and the body of a fish. Its name combines “mer” meaning the sea and “lion”. The “Singa” or lion head represents Singapore’s original name — Singapura — meaning “lion city”. Surrounded by the high-rise buildings of Singapore, this is a nice place to spend the morning. Earlier the better, else it gets too hot and sweaty.

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Gardens By The Bay is another unique attraction many nature lovers and photographers would look forward to visit. It is adjacent to Marina Bay  and – a collection of magical giant trees – as well as Cloud Forest and Flower Dome.

Be prepared for a humid weather. T-shirt and shorts are the best outfits for this tropical city. Don’t forget keep yourself hydrated. Drinking water can be quite expensive . I felt its better to carry an extra T-shirt in your handbag, that ways can change when you get too sweaty without going back to the hotel.But hey, I come from God’s own country ..pretty used to this weather. Its feels like home !

Chinatown is just a few blocks away which is a sharp contrast to the rest of the city, with red and gold tones that run through the neighborhood. This area is proud of its heritage, and has it very much on display with souvenir stalls and Feng Shui arrangements etc. Try some ice candy to get some relief from the scorching sun. Lot of street food stalls and some nice restaurants too. There is a China Town Heritage Centre and also a Vistor Centre, in case you would like to pick up some maps and also read about the history of the place. I always keep an offline map handy. You never know when the battery of the phone would drain. Plan B is important !

Don’t miss out on the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple. It is remarkable four-storied structure. The stunning main hall with its high ceiling looks all gold. The main attraction is the solid gold two-metre stupa on the fourth floor which is the place where the sacred relic is kept.You can feel the positive vibrations as you enter this temple.There  is also rooftop garden bursting with gorgeous colorful orchids. In the center of the roof, housed in its own room, rests the world’s largest cloisonne prayer wheel, Tibetan style.

Maxwell Food Centre is right across the temple. It serves some very good cheap local food. But I was craving for an air-conditioned restaurant and some chilled drinks. Maybe will come back later to Maxwell, right now more than hunger , the weather is killing. Found this small but interesting restaurant with lovely ambience and I was all set for a nap. The nice and cozy place helped me get over the mild heat stroke, and with some added sugar was ready for the evening adventure.

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Night Safari is what I have in mind next. The zoo and night safari are located in a “rural’ part of Singapore and its quite far from the city centre. And so options are (a) Take a taxi, which is going to be expensive or (b) Take the MRT  to Ang Mo Kio (red line), and then take a bus. Its a long journey and we were pretty exhausted by the time we got there. The fire-breathing Thumbuakar performance at the gate gave us a grand welcome.Fire swallowers, spitters, breathers, whatever you want to call them ,just too good and lifted our spirits.

The park has designed the lighting to be only as bright as the full moon, and  animals are pretty used to that natural habitat. Now that you are in the animal kingdom, have to find your way around with only the moon light.Food court also carries the animal theme and variety of options, from satay’s (my fav) to burgers and beer. Btw, rest rooms also follow the forest theme with a view of the lush landscaping outside and gives you a feel like you’re in a tropical forest.The highlight of the trip was the tram ride. Roughly about forty-five minutes and there is a live commentator onboard and one stop, the East Lodge, at which the guests can alight and walk the 30 minutes for the Leopard trail and return to catch the tram .It gives a feeling that animals are let out in the open.tigers, lions, hippopotamus, striped and spotted hyaena, sloth bear, leopard, giant anteaters and herds of deer & antelope and what not with demarcated areas and tram goes through their habitat. Colour and temperature of the light is the same as the moon, a rather flat white light.The tram would slow down and would wait for the leopard or lion to walk closer to the visitors. There could be a net or something ..between the exibit and us but under the moon light you can’t make out anything. It was scary at times and I was clinging on to my 7 year old. He was fearless and I was behaving like a scary cat ( in his lingo) . But it was an unforgettable experience.This is one place you must go while you are in Singapore !!

Plan for tomm is to go to Sentosa Island and Universal Studio , Orchard Street and Raffles maybe Little India if time permits. Oh how could I miss out on National Museum and Arab Street . Do I get to go shopping..Not sure. Seems like an expensive destination..except maybe China Town there was nothing much which gave a feeling of affordable luxury. Lets’ keep looking…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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